Curated research library of TV news clips regarding the NSA, its oversight and privacy issues, 2009-2014

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Primary curation & research: Robin Chin, Internet Archive TV News Researcher; using TV News Archive service.

Speakers

Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KNTV 08/11/2013
Gregory: Has Edward Snowden won? Has he accomplished what he set out to do, which is not only get a debate going but force change in these programs? Gellman: he has accomplished far more than anyone in his position could have reasonably hoped to have accomplished. And He told me his greatest fear was that he would come out and do this and whole story would be -- you know, roiling around for a day and it would be gone. Now you have president Obama
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KNTV 08/11/2013
Gellman continued: being forced to say that he welcomes the debate, which he welcomes sort of like the CEO who gets an angry letter yet writes back and says thank you for your interest in our surveillance programs. But it's top of the agenda now for two months.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KNTV 08/11/2013
Gellman: Well, Congress may decide not to allow the NSA or, via the FBI, to collect every single call record of every single American for this purpose. That's not what the president's argument sounded like in his news conference. He sounded like he wanted to, as you say, just put a little more oversight on it, internal, within the executive branch, and to sort of be slightly more transparent about how it happens. His justice department put out a long
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KNTV 08/11/2013
Gellman continued: white paper defending exactly the way it works now. And honestly, they put a lot of, you know, good, smart minds to work on it, but i think sort of 9 out of 10 civil procedure professors would have given that less than an "a" grade.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KNTV 08/16/2013
Gellman: The Federal Surveillance Court that has jurisdiction over the NSA ordered it to destroy after five years all the call data records that it gathers on innocent Americans. And it did not do that. There were several thousand files. O'Donnell: the Agency said in a state to NBC News, when NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal overseers and aggressively gets to the bottom of it.
Barton Gellman
Washington Post Reporter
KNTV 08/16/2013
Gellman: The federal surveillance court that has jurisdiction over the NSA ordered it to destroy after five years all the call data records that it gathers on innocent Americans. And It did not do that. There were several thousand files. O'Donnell: the agency said in a statement to NBC News, when NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal over seers and aggressively gets to the bottom of it.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Mitchell: you've detailed that it's $52.6 billion, 69% goes to the NSA, CIA and the National Reconnaissance Center. How have you assessed from all that you have been reporting here the value we're getting, the bang for the buck? What are we doing well and not so well? Gellman: Well they have some fairly frank internal report cards here. They talk about where they think
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Gellman continued: they've had successes and where they have critical gaps. Of course, the President and Congress are most concerned about the gaps to start with because there are things that they need to know to do their jobs and they don't know them. For example, there are five of those critical gaps with regard to the North Korean nuclear program, a subject of a great deal of concern to this government. There is no other country that has as many as five. There are others that have three or four. So the whole
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Gellman continued: United States is, has a bunch of blind spots and that worries them. They've had big success in that area as well. For example, they have -- they've used very clever and creative and interesting technologies and operations to find out things they didn't know about North Korea and Iran. The Post has agreed to withhold a lot of those details and they should be withheld because you'd be alerting the other side to what's been found and you better go move it now.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Gellman: there is. Look, I mean, on the counter proliferation idea, on the worries about nuclear weapons, also biological and chemical, there is one section for Pakistan and one for all other threats. It is the gravest concern the U.S. intelligence agency -- that there is. They can't talk about that in public, they think, because the judgment of success of administrations has been. They need to take what they can get from Pakistan. If they cut off aid and
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Gellman: continued: say, You're not our friend anymore, then they'll have less visibility and less influence there. But if they say out loud in Congressional testimony that we're very worried about Pakistani nukes, that we're worried about the fact they seem to have a program of -- sort of a systematic program of nonjudicial killings and so on, Congress is going to cut off the funds. So what you have here
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
MSNBCW 08/30/2013
Gellman continued: is a disparity between what they really believe and what they say. This is exactly what the transparency at a higher level into the budget allows there to be a public debate. Is their strategy right of knowing there are big problems but still saying, yes, we want to keep paying them? You know, 20 some billion dollars we've paid in the last 12 years.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
CSPAN 08/31/2013
Echevarria: what is known as the Black Budget for intelligence and spy agencies, this information was provided to them by Edward Snowden. They have a follow up story in this morning’s paper looking at the cyberspace war saying U.S. intelligence services carried out 231 offensive cyber- operations in 2011, the leading edge of a clandestine campaign that embraces the internet as a theater of spying, sabotage and war, according to top-secret documents obtained by The Washington Post. That disclosure, in a classified intelligence budget provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, provides new evidence that the Obama administration's
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
CSPAN 08/31/2013
Echevarria continued: growing ranks of cyber warriors infiltrate and disrupt foreign computer networks. The scope and scale of offensive operations represented an evolution in policy, which in the past sought to preserve an international norm against acts of aggression in cyberspace, in part because U.S. economic and military power depend so heavily on computers. Quote, “The policy debate has moved so that offensive options are now more prominent,” said former deputy defense secretary William J. Lynn III, who has not seen the budget document and was speaking generally. “I think there’s more of a case made now that offensive cyberoperations can be an important element in deterring certain adversaries.”
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellman: Yesterday General Alexander, the head of the N.S.A., denied that the N.S.A. is tapping into the servers or databases or data centers of Google and Yahoo! That's not what we said. What we said is they're tapping into the traffic that's between data center here and the data center there. So they're capturing the data as it moves across the net, not in storage where it's at rest.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellman: they're using a -- what they call a signal intelligence address or activity designator which just means a place and program from which they're tapping the data. we don't know where it is. we don't know exactly how it is. The evidence we have-- besides them saying so in their own documents that they're doing it, is that they are seeing things that don't exist on the public internet. That exist only in the cloud that belongs to Google or belong to Yahoo!
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellman: Their internal systems don't ever touch the public internet. They have private fiber optic cable, private systems that transmit the data back and forth. They're seeing things in special formats that are used by Google and Yahoo! to move their own data that they couldn't see anywhere else.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellman: If you want to tap into communications from a place inside the united states on u.s. territory you have to have -- you have to do it under either FISA authority or what's called transit authority, but in general you can't just bulk collect information that would reside in a database of yahoo! or google. if you're doing it from overseas different rules apply. You're not relying on statutory authority. you're not relying on the FISA court. Instead you're relying solely on presidential authority under executive order 12333 and there the rules are a little bit different and when you're tapping into a foreign access point you're allowed to presume legally through the N.S.A. that the people using that foreign access point are foreigners.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Ifill: What you're saying is that they did is not illegal because it involved international networks? Gellman: well, it's a rough analogy but if your -- your accountant would say you're allowed to avoid taxes not evade them. So they're taking full advantage of the rules as they interpret them. There are some outside surveillance lawyers who say it may raise some interesting questions about lawfulness but on its face I don't see any evidence they're flouting the law. They're using it in ways that the companies and public did not expect.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellman: We've changed the law after 9/11 to say just that it's okay to –it's okay to collect information from U.S. facilities because lots of foreign traffic passes through there. We have not added restrictions because a lot of Americans' traffic passes through foreign switches. We now have this global internet and so you can be sitting in Boise and log on to your Yahoo! account or your Google account and you're actually talking to a server in Finland which is getting information from a data center in south America. So the information in your account is being synchronized across the data centers so as it moves across you can have five years of e-mails packaged up moving across the wire and this program will intercept it. Whether they keep it and under what circumstances, all those rules are classified.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 10/31/2013
Gellerman: Google and Yahoo! are responding in slightly different ways. Google executives are clearly openly very angry about this and engineers I've talked to who are closely familiar with Google's internals were, as I said in the story, quite profane. They exploded in these very angry reactions when they realized what was being done to them. And Google is now accelerating the efforts to encrypt all the traffic that flows between those data centers. Yahoo! simply gave a statement that it was not aware of and did not cooperate in any of this and it has not announced any efforts efforts to prevent it.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
CSPAN 04/05/2014
Gellman: The crucial thing that's happened here is an increase in transparency. Obviously information is power. Secrecy is very great power especially when coupled with surveillance (makes us transparent and yourself opaque in government?). Because of this transparency you've seen not only journalism building on itself, but all kind of other things happen in the private sector, you have now for the first time in my memory a real marketplace for privacy. There were small outposts of that before, but they were boutiques. you now have large companies competing to demonstrate to consumers because consumers are worried about their privacy, because these revelations.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: On October 4, in a secret signing with Cheney, the president officially authorized "The Program." Gellman: That order is written by David Addington, the vice president's lawyer. It's not written by the president's lawyer. And this is not only unusual but probably unique in the history of major U.S. intelligence operations: it's written by the Vice President's lawyer and stored in his own safe. Narrator: Addington worked out of a small office next to the White House in the old Executive Office Building. Baker: This order is one of the most closely kept secrets of the Bush/Cheney administration for four years. It's kept so secret that many people involved in national security inside the White House and the government don't know about it.
Robert Deitz
NSA General Counsel, 1998-2006
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: Now General Hayden wanted the sign-off of his top lawyer, Robert Deitz. Deitz: I think he was concerned and wanted my view of whether this program was lawful. I spent a kind of sleepless night pondering the legality of it. This was a very hard call. It was a very hard call. Gellman: The NSA has a general counsel and about 100 lawyers. And they were told, "The President has signed it, it's been certified as lawful, and once all the signatures are there, that's it, we salute. We say, 'Okay, it's lawful, we're going to go ahead.'" Deitz: In the intel world, if a president says to you, "I need this in order to keep the American people safe," you need to try to figure out where that line is constitutionally and march right up to it.
Jack Goldsmith
Office of Legal Counsel, 2003-2005
KQED 05/13/2014
Goldsmith: The program was an example of the administration going it alone in secret based on inadequate legal reasoning and flawed legal opinions. Narrator: Goldsmith discovered that as part of the program, the government had been tracking data about the emails of tens of millions of Americans. Gellman: He said, "You can't justify the email collection. It is, on its face, a clear violation of the 4th Amendment and perhaps the 1st Amendment as well." Narrator: Addington was furious that Goldsmith would raise questions about "The Program," and he let him know. Goldsmith: He was very tough in making his arguments. He was very sarcastic and aggressive against people with whom he disagreed, and dismissive oftentimes. And he acted with the implicit blessing of the vice president. So all of these things made him a very, very forceful presence.
Peter Baker
White House Correspondent and Newspaper Reporter, The New York Times
KQED 05/13/2014
Baker: Goldsmith tells him, "We're going to pull back our endorsement of the legality of this program." And Addington roars at him and says, "If you do that, the blood of 100,000 people killed in the next attack will be on your head." Narrator: For Cheney, Addington, Gonzales, Hayden and others, the personal stakes at this moment were extremely high. Gellman: It was a felony to conduct this kind of surveillance in the United States. And everyone was relying on the shield that they were trying to create of having the president order it explicitly and have the attorney general sign off and say, "It's lawful." And as soon as the Justice Department starts to say, "We're not so sure this is lawful," there is a great deal of concern and anxiety.
Peter Baker
White House Correspondent and Newspaper Reporter, The New York Times
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: Goldsmith's boss, deputy attorney general James Comey, delivered the news to John Ashcroft: parts of the program appeared to be illegal. Baker: They go to the attorney general, John Ashcroft. They say, "We don't think this is legal. We think we need to get this changed. We need to stop what's going on because we don't have a solid foundation to go on." Narrator: Ashcroft was supposed to sign a reauthorization of the entire program every 45 days, and for two and a half years, he had. But now he balked. Gellman: Ashcroft gives Comey his verbal assurance that he is not going to go along with this program and that he is going to demand changes or he won't sign. Narrator: Then just hours later, Attorney General Ashcroft collapsed, suffering from severe pancreatitis.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: James Comey was now the acting Attorney General. Gellman: Comey notifies the White House formally that he's not going to sign, and we're now within 48 hours of expiration of this program. Narrator: With the deadline looming inside the White House, Alberto Gonzales, chief of staff Andrew Card and David Addington headed to Attorney General Ashcroft's hospital room. Gonzales: We went to the West Wing, picked up David, who had the authorization. We get to the hospital and I tell David to stay back because there was history between David and the Attorney General and I didn't want to aggravate the Attorney General needlessly. Gellman: Janet Ashcroft, the Attorney General's wife, is very alarmed. She calls up Ashcroft's chief of staff and says, "Oh my God, they're coming over."
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: In the wake of the hospital confrontation, at the White House, Cheney insisted the president should act on his own: reauthorize all of the program even though the Justice Department said part of it was illegal. Gellman: Cheney and David Addington draft a new order. And this time, it has one subtle difference. Instead of having a signature page for the Attorney General, "I certify the lawfulness of this order," there's a new signature for the White House counsel, Alberto Gonzales, who does not have the same legal authority. Gonzales: I satisfied myself that there was sufficient legal authority to move forward. And I felt that the President was not a lawyer, and that it was my job, if I felt comfortable that it was in fact lawful, to provide that signature. I did it because I wanted to protect the President. That's why I signed that document.
George W Bush
President 2000-2009
KQED 05/13/2014
Narrator: The President then sent for FBI Director Mueller. Gellman: Mueller is waiting downstairs a level, outside the Situation Room. Some aide goes and says, "The President wants to see you right now, get in there." And Bush says to Mueller, "Go tell Jim Comey to fix this. I withdraw the order. You go make it right." Narrator: The warrantless email data collection was shut down. The crisis was averted. But at the White House, they were determined to resume it. Lizza: And so they're sort of sifting through the FISA law, they're sifting through the Patriot Act trying to find existing laws, existing authorities, you might call it loopholes, to justify these programs.
George W Bush
President 2000-2008
KQED 05/13/2014
Bush: I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.Narrator: It was the least controversial and smallest element of the program. There was no reference to the massive gathering of domestic communications data. Gellman: His characterization of the facts was simply wrong. And it was wrong from the beginning. The program wasn't to surveil known suspects, known conspirators. You could easily get a warrant for that. The program was to sift big data. It was to trawl through enormous volumes, literally trillions of telephone calls, trillions of emails, and to look for unknown conspirators.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 05/20/2014
Narrator: The story concerned another NSA program called PRISM. Documents showed how beginning in 2007, nine Internet companies were cooperating with the NSA. Gellman wanted to make sure his reporting wouldn't damage national security. Gellman: We very much did want to know what they thought would do concrete harm, and how, and why. And the U.S. government asked me not to publish the U.S. government asked me not to publish the names of the nine companies that were supplying information to the government in the PRISM program. And I said, "Why?" Their argument was that if we publish the names, then the companies would be less inclined to cooperate. And I guess we agreed to disagree on that one. Audio TV reporting: The Washington Post is reporting that the... Narrator: The Post went ahead.
Barton Gellman
Journalist, contributing to the Washington Post
KQED 05/20/2014
Narrator: The PRISM revelations reached beyond the collection of phone records. This was about the acquisition of content from tens of thousands of NSA targets. Audio TV reporting: Did you check your account on Gmail? Secret spying program is... Gellman: The PRISM program is not about metadata. It's about content. It's the photos and videos you send. It's the words of your emails. It's the sounds of your voice on a Skype call. It's all the files you have stored on a cloud drive service. It's content, it's everything.
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